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Vice-President of the European Commission and member of the Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
Speaking points by Vice-President Olli Rehn at the Press Conference with Minister De Guindos
Press Conference /Madrid
29 January 2013
Good afternoon. Thank you Luis.
I will also be quite brief so we will have more time for questions. I just want to say that we had a very good meeting with Finance Minister De Guindos and we reviewed the economic situation of Spain as well as the fiscal situation and the state of the reform progress in the country.
Following my participation earlier today in the 40th anniversary conference of the European Trade Union Confederation, I want to say that I am aware of the difficult social situation of many Spaniards at this point of time because of the effects of the economic crisis. At the same time, it is important to note the positive developments which reflect the steadily growing confidence in Spain and its economic policy, which is the reflection of decisions taken both by Spain and the eurozone.
We have seen important progress in Spain towards a more sustainable growth model and it is important that long-standing obstacles to growth and competitiveness are being removed. For instance, the labour market reform has been moving forward and now it needs to be complemented with policies to help the unemployed find new work or training opportunities.
It is essential to repair and reform the financial sector and thus facilitate credit for SMEs so that they can invest and create jobs.
And it will be important also to maintain the fiscal consolidation effort, because a sustained recovery demands sustainable public finances.
So the European Commission is committed to support Spain as it takes forward this broad-based reform programme. I have no doubt that these reforms will bear fruit, even if it will take some time for their full positive effects to be felt. This will be another difficult year, but I am confident that it will also be the year in which the corner is turned, in which Spain and the euro area as a whole can move from stabilisation to a sustained recovery.